somalia election girls AU training

Sowda Sudi, who in July completed her two years’ course in electricity at a technical college in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu, has won accolades for thriving in a male-dominated field.

“The idea of becoming an electrician came to my mind when I was a young girl. I was wondering how lights were made and I started fixing torches. Finally, I got the opportunity in 2017 to join Haylebarise Technical Institute in Mogadishu,” Sowda told Xinhua during an interview on Saturday.

At Haylebarise Technical Institute in Mogadishu, Sowda was the only female student undertaking electricity while the rest of her classmates were men.

Sowda was discouraged by many as she started her studies at Haylebarise but her determination and focus held sway.

“Builders at a construction site said I should be excluded from the contract because they thought I could put the house at risk of catching fire because of poor installation,” said Sowda.

“I have always had an inclination towards technical subjects and skills but I could not get a place to study,” said Sowda.

“The nation needs to be rebuilt, to be fixed and we need these technical skills to accomplish that feat,” she added.

Sowda said she now fixes any electric faults at home with ease and works within the city on major assignments. But she has to contend with old stereotypes.

“When I venture into a construction site, people look at me with astonishment but others offer some words of encouragement,” said Sowda.

She recalled a sad day when builders at a construction site urged a client to exclude her because they thought she was not qualified enough.

“When I arrived with two other electricians, the builders were surprised and they advised the owner of the house to exclude me unless he was ready to see his house on fire because of poor installation,” Sowda said.

“But the owner laughed and said he was happy a girl was installing electricity,” she said.

She also hopes to start her own training centre in the near future. “We really need more technical colleges to build a skilled workforce for our country. Though it may take time, but that will surely come to pass,” said Sowda.

Badri Hayle, founder of Haylebrise Technical Institute, emphasized the need to give girls equal opportunities as boys adding that women are sometimes left to bring up children with no source of income in the event of divorce.

“It is imperative therefore they acquire skills so that they can fend for their families,” said Badri.

He said that when girls are trained in technical areas such as electricity, it makes it easy for families to access services which would be unavailable owing to religious and cultural restrictions.

“In Islam, it is forbidden for a man who is not a relative to enter into a divorced woman’s house so it makes it easier if there are female technicians who can fix electrical faults or such other technical tasks,” said Badri. Enditem

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